The Delhi Liquor Policy Case is a big issue that has been talked about a lot recently. This liquor case started after The CM announced new rules on liquor policy. This case involved some important people, like the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, and a group called the “South Group”. The Enforcement Directorate summoned the CM of Delhi today in the liquor policy case. However, he decided against it and went to campaign for the upcoming elections in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The former deputy of CM, Manish Sisodia is in jail under this case and the Supreme Court of India disapproved the bail request of Manish Sisodia. MP Sanjay Singh has also been arrested in the same case. Sanjay Singh was arrested on the day before; Sisodia was arrested much earlier, on February 26. They are both accused of doing wrong things when making and putting in place the new alcohol-selling rules of 2021-22.
What happened under this new Policy?
In Delhi, new rules were made for selling alcohol in November 2021. The changes stopped government shops from selling alcohol, and let private businesses apply to run liquor stores. The Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Kejriwal, hoped this would stop illegal selling, bring in more money, and be good for buyers.
These new rules let liquor stores remain open even past midnight and allowed them to offer discounts without any restrictions. Following these changes, many private liquor stores saw a boost in their sales, and the Delhi government reported a 27% increase in revenue.
However, the opposition party, BJP, in Delhi was not happy with these new rules. They accused Kejriwal’s government of encouraging a “liquor culture.” They also pointed out that a lot of liquor stores have now opened up in residential areas.
The Investigation Report
A big report came out in July 2022, saying that the new rules for selling alcohol were not made properly. The report said that Sisodia, who was in charge of making these rules, made some decisions on his own that cost the government a lot of money, over Rs 580 crore.
After this report came out, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate this issue. Shortly after, the Delhi government decided to take back the new liquor policy which led to the closing of more than 400 newly opened liquor stores. The sale of liquor went back to being managed by the government until a fresh policy was introduced.
Kickbacks and Stakeholding
It was also said that the AAP government and leaders got money from alcohol business owners for special treatment like discounts and license fee breaks. This money was allegedly used to help in elections in Punjab and Goa in early 2022. In August 2022, the CBI got involved after seeing the report, and this led to Sisodia’s arrest.
The ED came in after the CBI named Sisodia and 14 others as accused. They said that over Rs 292 crore came from crime and needed to find out how it happened. They believe that the plan was to give the big alcohol business to private people and set a 12% profit margin, where a 6% kickback was taken. They also said that AAP leaders got Rs 100 crore from a group called the “South Group” for easy access to the alcohol business in Delhi.
The involvement of the “South Group”
The investigating teams mentioned a group known as the “South Group” being part of this issue. This group allegedly includes K Kavitha, who is a leader of Bharatiya Rastra Samithi and also the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, along with YSRCP MP M Srinivasulu Reddy and Sarath Reddy from Aurobindo Pharma.
According to ED, the “South Group” and AAP had a deal where the group funded AAP’s election campaign in Goa. The plan was for the “South Group” to get this money back through their liquor businesses in Delhi. It was alleged that AAP helped these liquor networks by providing them with licenses under the new policy.